Hayley Begner, The Calm Birth School – Women supporting Women

2 and a half years ago, I left my solid full time amazing job with COS of 10 years as I prepped myself to give birth to my second child. Though I loved the brand (my sister says if you cut me open it would say COS through and through) I felt there was little flexibility for me to be the best mum I could be as well as being the best I could be at my job.  I was at maximum capacity, having gone back to work full time when Rory was just 10 months. It was unusual for me to start my day any later than 6am and get home just in time for his bed time at 7pm. I salute those that find the balance, but with number 2 on the way I just couldn’t see how I could continue like that. I officially left the job to help out my other half with his business but I knew this wasn’t my calling or my future career. Instead I thought of it as time to spend with my first born before he started school and really throw myself into my Calm Birth School Hypnobirthing programme.

I should probably rewind a little… my names Hayley and I own Gigi + Pickle Hypnobirthing.  I have 2 kids, Rory 6 and Huxley 2, and a super supportive husband that quite frankly makes it much easier to do something that I really love as much as I do. I’ve been immersed in this eye opening, invigorating ‘birthy’ world for about a year and a half and I’m every bit as motivated by it as when I first set out.  I’m still finding that ‘perfect’ work-life balance as I’ve now found I’m a complete workaholic, but at the same time blessed that I can drop my kids off to school and pick them up every day!

A few months after finishing my full time job, I had the calm, home birth, water birth that I dreamed of.  To be honest I was embarrassed and quite shocked about it, whilst simultaneously wanting to shout from the rooftops “Birth can be AMAZING, everyone should know this!!” At the same time I was feeling anxious about my calling, my bigger reason for being and though my kids are my love I knew there was something bigger than me in life.  I knew that I wanted to help women realise their potential, realise their bodies potential, know their rights in childbirth, know that they even HAD rights in childbirth and overall to feel empowered just as I (and my birth partner) had.

As I started to write my own blog, documenting my Hypnobirthing journey and my own birth and life through motherhood, it became clear to me that teaching women Hypnobirthing was one of the important elements of my bigger being that I had to fulfill.  I wanted women to know that it wasn’t hocus pocus or woo woo at all. (Damn that name ‘Hypnobirthing’- I dont know one teacher that wouldn’t rather change the name!!) And so a year after giving birth I completed my Hypnobirthing training and the rest is history.

I now teach the Calm Birth School method which naturally I feel most aligned to in terms of language and outlook on birth.  It feels all inclusive and open and I love the wealth of different birth stories you can find from the Calm Birth School; induction, labour ward, cesarean, twin, home, you name it.  As time has gone on I can also feel my teaching evolve and grow, I make it clear to women and their partners from the very beginning that we are not aiming for the ‘perfect’ birth but a positive experience.  Whilst a physiological birth is normally at the top of everyones list, (and I will emphasise the most optimal things to be doing to achieve this) it would be naive as a teacher , not to set women up to feel prepared, calm and confident about any route their birth may take in special circumstances.  I feel passionate about women’s post-natal mental health and believe that this should be one of the things on the top of the list for what we aim to improve of birth.  Contrary to what you hear, a healthy baby isn’t the ONLY thing that matters.  Lets not sweep traumatic births under the carpet!

One thing people to question is cost of a course.  For me it’s a small fraction of what we pay for all those baby ‘essentials’ (read absolutely useless contraptions!) and I describe Hypnobirthing as #lifeskills. I have without any hint of sarcasm used hypnobirthing techniques in the following scenarios… on a ferry that I was convinced would sink, on a plane that had horrific turbulence (all in the same holiday may I add), at the dentist and getting blood tests!  My course feels unique, in that I have found incorporating essential oils into Hypnobirthing practice to be twice as effective. Essential oils were crucial during my birth and have so many incredible benefits when you find the right organic brand. It’s just another part of my life that has changed and evolved using these oils to subsequently improve mine and my families health on a day to day basis, so I love sharing with new parents how they can feel empowered to do this themselves.

Ultimately, each month I get to teach new couples about birthing calmly and confidently and I get to see the transformation of the outlook that people have from when they begin their course to when they finish.  When I go the extra 10 miles for a couple after their course has finished, it’s not like work. Researching articles, putting together long emails before their appointments with the consultation, getting updates on how they’re feeling and how they’ve been practising their tools, it’s  a total joy to me. I revel in it, because that is one couple extra that will feel as empowered as my birth partner and I did 2 years ago and will be feeling again in the summer this year (ahhh!!!), and so that empowered feeling shouldn’t be withheld from anyone!

How cool is Hayley??? Find out more about her and Gigi and Pickle via the links below;www.gigiandpickle.com


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